31 Ways to Interrupt the Urge to Binge

For me in the past, sometimes the immediate feelings of a binge are something that can be distracted away until I can then later calmly figure out what exactly was going on or might have triggered it. I’ve found that sometimes in the moment of wanting to overeat or emotionally eat, it’s a little too hectic to pin point what’s up, so its good to have some strategies that will deflect the unwanted behavior and give me a little space.

I thought perhaps I could give some of my ideas and you can add any good ones of your own so we can all help each other out! My list of the activities I can do to re-direct or interrupt the urge to binge:

*Read a book, blog, affirmation, set of poems

*E-mail a friend

*Call a family member

*Watch something on hulu/netflix

*Do a crossword puzzle/sudoku

*Organize something (closet, drawer, etc…)


*Make a list of 10 things you appreciate right now

*Go for a walk around the block, neighborhood, building…

*Browse online shopping sites

*Make a collage or DIY project

*Listen to your favorite music or find some new tunes

*Take a shower, bath

*Give yourself a mani/pedi

*Handwrite a letter to someone or make a card

*Research a destination you’ve always wanted to visit

*Go for a coffee or make yourself some tea

*Make plans to hang out with someone

*Draw, paint, sketch, knit!

*Go for a drive

*Pick out an outfit for an upcoming event

*Look at old photographs

*Sing out loud and/or dance around

*Take a cat-nap

*Lie down and give yourself a hug (sounds silly, but has worked for me)

*Pop in your fave movie that makes you laugh

*Light a candle, be quiet, & breathe (whatever variation on mediation you like)

*Listen to a podcast or comedy recording

*Play with a pet or go outside and observe creatures (birds, squirrels, whatever)

*Put on your favorite lotion and give yourself a mini massage

*Practice something you are trying to learn

What works for you? -Morgan

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9 Responses to 31 Ways to Interrupt the Urge to Binge

  1. Tamara says:

    I especially like vacation research idea: I know the times I’ve been happiest the last few months were looking up places to go on our trip to Japan this May. As soon as that’s over, I’ll definitely be spending my free hours looking at pictures of Greece, Italy, New Zealand….

    And it is difficult to jam your hand into a box of animal crackers when your nails are drying :D

  2. Astrid says:

    I love love love lists like this. I would like to add: go for a walk and bring a camera to take pictures of random things. From your list, I love making myself tea and researching vacations. This is a great post! And a great blog that I need to spend some more time looking through.

  3. Heather says:

    Last night I drove around for hours. I knew I was going to binge. It was just one of those days. So, I kept driving to find the place that would have the right food for my binge. Hours I drove. Every fast food place I drove by, I would almost stop at and then would think that the food didn’t quite fit my mood. As I was driving, one of my favourite radio shows came on and it happened to be an interview with an author who had just written a biography on my favourite author. Point being that I got so engrossed with the discussion that I forgot all about the binge and came home, looked up the interviewee and emailed the her to express how much I enjoyed her take on the subject. By the time I was done all of this, it was time for bed and I was done craving.

    Great topic, by the way. I tend to also come to this page and read what people have been writing as a way to interrupt a craving. I get strength from the successes of others. “Little Victories” is fantastic for that.

    • Angie says:

      Hi - This is a great topic. I have found music and talking a walk with the dog to be amazing tools. In the past week I also learned that I have a food allergy to gluten. I thought I had an allergy to gluten before, but when I was tested, the test came back negative. Long story short, here are two key facts that helped me receive a correct diagnosis: 1) You must be eating products that contain gluten prior to the test for the test to be effective. 2) For people with the allergy, it’s not unheard of to binge on gluten-rich foods. Because my body isn’t processing the gluten, I never get a ‘satisfied’ message so my body keeps craving the food with the substance. OMG! I know I can turn any food into a binge food, but I feel like this fact is helpful when I’m trying to interrupt the urge to binge. Just wanted to post unless anyone else is out there and might find some help with this info.

  4. Emily says:

    When I want to binge, sometimes it helps to reframe my thinking and give it a positive purpose. The urge to binge is usually a sign that I need to be more responsive to what I’m feeling. So often when I binge, it’s because I’m directing negative emotions against me. (I’m angry with myself, frustrated, lonely, want to punish myself or subconsciously perpetuate the cycle of I’m-fat-so-no-one-will-like-me.) And so when I try to interrupt a binge, I’ll do something to say that I really do love me - I’ll give myself a facial, do some yoga poses, read a book I love.

    Like Heather, I often come here to interrupt a binge. I also delve into some of the self-help literature that’s been so constructive - Geneen Roth is great, and the stories in Overeaters Anonymous’ magazine (which are available online) are a big help.

    When I’m not in the mood to be so reflective or deliberate (which is often!), I’ll do things to distract myself. Puzzles are big for me. Cleaning is another thing. And phone calls/emails to friends and family are great for me - they put me back in touch with what’s actually important and reduce my self-alienation.

  5. Veronica says:

    Thanks for sharing that. I really need ideas to keep my mind of food.

  6. Mariah says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! I really really needed something like this to help me refocus. Im ready to end this enxiety and battle over food. I am so sick of it and i know that your list is going to help me. Thank you:)

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